Cute Summer Sweets

Character Shaved Ice from Pompompuri Cafe in Japan

Stir-fried Beef Sirloin with Chili Sauce and Creamy Garlic Potatoes


1 pound lean, boneless sirloin steak
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
vegetable cooking spray

Chili Sauce

1/2 cup peeled, chopped tomato
2 tablespoons chopped carrot
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Garlic Potato

3 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices (about 1 pound)
1 tablespoon margarine
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup skim milk
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded reduced-sodium Swiss cheese
vegetable cooking spray


  1. Combine all chili sauce ingredients in a saucepan. Stir well and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place mixture in container of an electric blender. Cover and process until smooth. Keep warm and set aside.
  2. Cook sliced potatoes in boiling water 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and set aside.
  3. Melt margarine in saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, and saute 2 minutes.
  4. Add flour, salt, and pepper. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly with a wire whisk. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly. Cook an additional 5 minutes or until thickened and bubbly, stirring constantly.
  5. Add cheese and cook just until cheese melts, stirring constantly.
  6. Arrange half of potatoes in a 1-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with half of sauce. Repeat with remaining potatoes and sauce. Cover and bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  7. Trim fat from steak; partially freeze steak. Slice steak diagonally across grain into thin strips; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  8. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray, and place over medium-high heat until hot. Add steak, and stir-fry 4 minutes or to desired degree of doneness.
  9. Serve immediately with chili sauce and garlic potatoes.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Gadget: Portable Grill

Gourmia Portable Charcoal Electric BBQ Grill

The Gourmia claims to have the following benefits:

  • 90% less smoke.
  • Better flavor.
  • Removable parts for easy, fast clean-up.
  • An emphasis on efficiency, so you burn less charcoal.
  • It comes with a travel case for easy portability.

Don’t Let Summer Strain Your Back

Summer is the time when everyone dives into yard work and takes family vacations. But all that time spent bending, lifting and traveling can strain your back, spine experts say.

An estimated 3.7 million Americans sought care for back pain and injuries at doctors’ offices in the summer of 2014, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).

“Many back injuries occur from sudden movements during daily activities such as bending, lifting and twisting,” said Dr. Afshin Razi, a spokesperson for the academy.

“Always be mindful of the way you’re positioning your body and practice safe lifting techniques during these motions. Keep the core muscles in your back and abdomen strong and flexible. Strengthening your core muscles will help to support your spine,” Razi said in an AAOS news release.

The academy offers these tips for protecting yourself from back injuries during the summer:

  • Lift heavy items with your legs instead of your back, and don’t bend over. Bend your knees instead and keep your back straight.
  • Get someone to help you lift heavy objects. Turn to your friends or family or hire someone to assist.
  • Pack as lightly as possible when traveling, and try to spread heavier items among several boxes or bags.
  • Take breaks, regardless of whether you’re sitting or working, and stretch between tasks.
  • Watch your posture and sit with your back in a slightly arched position. Your chair should support your lower back and your head and shoulders should be upright.
  • Be careful about your footwear. Your shoes should fit properly and have rubber non-skid soles to protect you from falling, especially when you’re traveling or working outdoors.
  • If you’re outside, make sure hoses, rakes and garden tools are out of your path so you don’t trip over them.
  • Pets like to be underfoot and can pose a tripping hazard. Consider putting a bell on your pet so you know its location when it’s moving around.

Source: HealthDay

Zoning in on Specifics of Mediterranean Diet for Colorectal Health

The benefits of a “Mediterranean diet” (MD) are well-known when it comes to colorectal protection, but it’s hard to know specifically what elements of the diet are the healthiest.

Now a new study, presented today at the ESMO 19th World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer suggests loading up on fish and fruit, and cutting back on soft drinks are the three most important things.

“We found that each one of these three choices was associated with a little more than 30% reduced odds of a person having an advanced, pre-cancerous colorectal lesion, compared to people who did not eat any of the MD components. Among people who made all three healthy choices the benefit was compounded to almost 86% reduced odds,” said Naomi Fliss Isakov, PhD fromTel-Aviv Medical Center, in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Colorectal cancer (CRC) develops from intestinal polyps and has been linked to a low-fibre diet heavy on red meat, alcohol and high-calorie foods, said Fliss Isakov.

And while the Mediterranean diet has been associated with lower rates of colorectal cancer, the definition of what elements in the diet are the most beneficial, has not always been clear.

Using dietary questionnaires from 808 people who were undergoing screening or diagnostic colonoscopies, the research team was able to dig down to look at the fine details of their daily meals.

All subjects were between 40 and 70 years old, without high risk of CRC, and answered a food frequency questionnaire.

Adherence to the MD components was defined as consumption levels above the group median for fruits, vegetables and legumes, nuts and seeds, whole grains, fish and poultry and a high ratio of monounsaturated to saturated fatty acids, as well consumption below the median of red meat, alcohol, and soft drinks.

The investigators found that compared to subjects with clear colonoscopies, those who had advanced polyps reported fewer components of the Mediterranean diet (a mean of 1.9 versus 4.5 components). Yet even consumption of two to three components of the diet, compared to none, was associated with half the odds of advanced polyps.

Odds were reduced in a dose response manner with additional MD components – meaning that the more MD components people adhered, the lower their odds of having advanced colorectal polyps.

After adjusting to account for other CRC risk factors, including other dietary components, the researchers narrowed in on high fish and fruit and low soft drinks as the best combo for reduced odds of advanced colorectal polyps.

The next step will be to see whether the MD is linked to lower risk of CRC in higher risk groups, she concluded.

Commenting on the study, ESMO spokesperson Dirk Arnold, MD, PhD, from Instituto CUF de Oncologia in Lisbon, Portugal, said “this large population-based cohort-control study impressively confirms the hypothesis of an association of colorectal polyps with diets and other life-style factors. This stands in line with other very recent findings on nutritive effects, such as the potential protective effects of nut consumption and Vitamin D supplementation which have been shown earlier this year. However, it remains to be seen whether these results are associated with reduced mortality, and it is also unclear if, and when a dietary change would be beneficial. Despite this lack of information, it makes sense to consider this diet for other health-related reasons also.”

Source: European Society for Medical Oncology

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